Objective—To examine the effect of various clinical tracks within the veterinary medical clinical curriculum at Texas A&M University on clinical diagnostic proficiency as determined by pre- and post-training assessment. We expected that the clinical track chosen by the student would impact their measured outcome with bias toward higher scores in their chosen field.
Design—Prospective cohort study.
Study Population—32 students from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.
Procedures—By use of standardized, written case scenarios, clinical reasoning was assessed twice: once prior to the clinical (fourth) year of the curriculum and again at completion of the clinical year. Students demonstrated their abilities to collect and organize appropriate clinical data (history, physical examination, and laboratory findings), determine clinical diagnoses, and formulate and implement acceptable treatment modalities. Data from clinical assessments were compared for a given cohort and correlated with other measures (eg, grades, standardized test scores, and species-specific curricular track).
Results—Differences were detected in clinical diagnostic proficiency among students in different clinical tracks and for different species groups in the case scenarios. Tracking by species group in the clinical veterinary curriculum appeared to affect development of clinical reasoning and resulted in differential proficiency among cases for differing species groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Differences in clinical experiences between small animal tracks and all other track opportunities (large animal, mixed animal, and alternative) influenced the development of clinical proficiency in fourth-year veterinary students during their clinical training period.
Objective—To identify predictors of veterinary students and veterinarians having an interest in veterinary public health and epidemiology (PH&E).
Sample Population—Veterinary students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University and veterinarians with membership in a Texas veterinary professional organization.
Procedures—2 questionnaires were designed and administered to investigate hypothesized predictors of PH&E interests among veterinary students and veterinarians. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables from both questionnaires. Prevalence ratios, 95% confidence intervals, and χ2 tests were used to evaluate bivariate associations between variables and an interest in PH&E. Multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for the effects of multiple variables on the outcome.
Results—70% (215/305) of students believed that a course in PH&E was necessary, and 46% (140/304) believed that more courses in PH&E would improve the veterinary curriculum. Ninety-nine percent (299/303) of veterinarians believed that a course in PH&E was necessary in the curriculum. Ninety-two percent (272/297) of veterinarians agreed that knowledge related to PH&E was important to perform the functions of their job. History of raising animals and membership in 4-H or Future Farmers of America were significant predictors of veterinary students having an interest in PH&E. Being male and growing up in a rural environment were not significant predictors.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most veterinary students and veterinarians agreed that knowledge of PH&E is important. Variables identified as associated with an interest in PH&E may be useful for designing mitigation strategies to increase the number of veterinarians entering public health careers.
Objective—To assess the outcomes of an alternative track program designed to address shortages of veterinarians in nonpractice areas of the veterinary profession.
Study Population—Recent veterinary graduates.
Procedures—A telephone survey of recent graduates from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Alternative Career Choice program was conducted. Respondents were asked to give open-ended responses to a list of 9 interview questions.
Results—Of the 21 alternative career choice students who graduated between the years 2000 and 2005, 17 were interviewed.
Conclusion—Analysis of the data suggested that it may be possible to decrease the total number of weeks allotted to the alternate career choice program without impairing the ability of graduates to find employment in their chosen career fields.
Objective—To determine whether veterinarians perceive that theriogenology training at veterinary medical schools in North America and the Caribbean is adequate for achievement of theriogenology skills commonly used in private practice.
Procedures—A survey was mailed to members of the veterinary medical associations of Alabama, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Washington. With regard to reproductive procedures in bovine, equine, porcine, small ruminant, camelid, and small animal species, veterinarians (predominantly practitioners) were asked to rate the importance of that procedure in their job and to assess their own degree of competency in that procedure at the time of their graduation from veterinary school.
Results—Procedures considered most valuable in practice were those that represent basic theriogenology education and training, such as transrectal palpation of cows and mares and interpretation of vaginal cytologic specimens in bitches. Dystocia management was a high priority in all species. Correlations between rankings for value in practice and competency at graduation were good, varying from 0.75 in cattle and 0.78 in horses to 0.98 in dogs and 1.0 in cats, small ruminants, and pigs.
Conclusions—Analysis of these data suggests that appropriate theriogenology procedures are being taught in veterinary medical schools but perhaps not to the extent required to achieve adequate competency immediately at graduation. Issues requiring further investigation include the effect of tracking in the veterinary curriculum on theriogenology training, methods by which more students could receive greater practical exposure during theriogenology training, and the apparent relative lack of theriogenology training (including contraception) in small animals and exotic animals.
Objective—To describe the number and types of veterinary professional degree and certificate programs providing education in the area of public practice to veterinarians and determine the availability of these programs via distance learning.
Procedures—Web-based internet searches were performed for programs for veterinary public practice or public health, population medicine, or Master's degree in Epidemiology. The information reviewed was derived from individual school and program Web sites and from personal e-mail correspondence with school administrators.
Results—17 professional degree and 4 certificate programs were available to provide education and training in the areas of public practice and population medicine to veterinarians. Twelve of these programs have begun since 1998. Of the 17 professional degree programs, 7 are located in the United States and 10 are located in other countries. Nine of the professional degree programs provide education through traditional teaching methods, and 8 provide education and training through distance learning.
Conclusions—During the preceding 5 years, the number of programs available to educate and train veterinarians in the areas of public practice and population medicine has increased. Distance learning is being used to increase capacity and reach a broader audience of veterinarians. With the increase in programs has come an increase in capacity to educate and train veterinarians in the fields of population medicine and public practice. The impact and sustainability of this increased capacity have not been evaluated.